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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all! I've searched and didn't see any recent threads on this subject...

So far, I have gotten Amazon to price match the first book in my series to free, which has substantially increased sales to the next books in my series. I've actually done this for each series I have. So far, in the few months the first book has been free, the downloads ebb and flow a little but overall I have good steady downloads which keep me ranking in the top 5-15 in my categories for one series, and a bit lower for my second series.

My real question is this... how do I know that I have a good average amount of readers coming back to read book 2? I know there are so many obstacles in answering this question, as it can take weeks or sometimes months for someone to get around to reading a book once they download it. Or they might not read it at all!

But has anyone come up with an average of any kind? Or would anyone be willing to share their experiences? I'm just curious if the number I have coming back for number 2 is decent or could use improvement...

So far this is what I have experienced on series one:

In OCT: first month I went free, about 5000 downloads with about 150 buying book 2

In NOV: about 9000 downloads with about 350 buying book 2

In DEC: about 5000 downloads with about 300 buying book 2

In JAN: so far I'm at about 2000 downloads and have about 120 book 2's bought.

It seems like no matter how many downloads I get of book 1, I'm averaging about 250-350 coming back for book 2.


I won't put my series two info up here because I've actually had extreme fluctuations in downloads plus Amazon took it off price matching and put it back on price matching twice now... but its also similar to my first series, but smaller numbers overall. I have not done any serious promo for the free downloads but I'm happy with the progress I've made so far.

Before I price matched my first books to free I averaged about 65%-70% of book 1 purchasers coming back to buy book 2... I have no idea if that's good or not. However, it's certainly not the percentage I have returning for book 2 now. Sales are up and I'm definitely happy about that, but the percentage I have returning for book 2 is much lower.

I don't know if it makes any difference but readers that buy book 2 seem to all come back and buy 3, 4 and so forth ... so the people reading book 2 appear to enjoy the series and keep reading - a good thing! :)

Maybe it's just that people download free books like mad and then take a long time to get around to reading them! It just intrigues me that no matter the number of free downloads I get, I seem to be in this same average for those buying book 2. It only makes sense to me that getting a larger amount of downloads would mean a larger amount of readers coming back for book 2. And I guess looking at the numbers that was the case, slightly.

Plus, now that it's been a few months, I would have expected at least a bigger bump in sales of book 2, by some of those previous downloaders finally getting around to reading book 1...

I guess I just don't know how to feel about it all. I'm thrilled to have sales increasing! And great reviews being posted! But there's a part of me that just can't help but wonder if my average rate of return for book 2 is low...

Thanks for letting me get all that off my chest! Any thoughts you have would be greatly appreciated! :)




 

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Here are some numbers based on my own sales numbers.  I can't honestly say if I'm doing well, poor, or average.  I have read about numbers much better than mine, and I have seen people report numbers that are on par with what I've seen.  So I would conclude that for my genera this is par.

When my first book is not free.  I see about a 25-30% buy through to book two and a 90%+ from book two to book three.
When I do a free run on book one.  I see about a 2-3% buy through to book two and a 80% or so from book two to book three.  In other words every 100 free downloads I see a 2-3 book bump on book two and maybe a 2 book bump on book three over the next few weeks.

Simply completing the series saw the buy through of book one to book two increase about 15%.  That tells me that there are people out there that just don't buy incomplete series.
 

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I figure if I get a 10% follow through from the perma free to book 1, I'm doing really well.  The percent varies from month to month and downloads vary from month to month, so it's hard to tell how long the book might sit on someone's Kindle before someone reads it.  Do you have the first chapter of the next book and links to it in the back of the freebie? I know for my books that this helps with follow-through.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies!!

I do have the link for the next book in the series at the end of each book.

I plan on doing some actual serious promo soon, for the free downloads, and hope that I see a jump in sales for book 2 after. I guess time will tell if any of those extra thousands of copies still out there and unread (of book one) will get read and turn into another sale!

I guess I was just surprised that a few months in, and many thousands of downloads later, I still had not seen a real bump for book 2. Maybe I'm asking too much too fast :)
 

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The key is to not think of people downloading a book for free as a "sale." It's more like they just took your business card at a party.  :D

That being said, to me, you have great numbers. I have one perma-free book, but I literally cannot give it away, or sell the second one. Lucky for me, I have a few different things on the go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
An oddly enough, today I have had a good sized bump in free downloads for both books I currently have perma free, but my overall amazon ranking has either not changed or actually gone down... so geesh! Maybe there is just NO way to figure out this game :)
 

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Dalya said:
The key is to not think of people downloading a book for free as a "sale." It's more like they just took your business card at a party. :D

That being said, to me, you have great numbers. I have one perma-free book, but I literally cannot give it away, or sell the second one. Lucky for me, I have a few different things on the go.
When I first got my kindle i went crazy on free downloads, I would get listings from pixel of ink and other mailing groups every single day.
I never got around to read most of them and probably will never read them.
So the business card analogy is perfect, it's like a big networking party during which you'll take the farrier's card even if you never go near a horse.
 

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Dalya said:
The key is to not think of people downloading a book for free as a "sale." It's more like they just took your business card at a party. :D
That's perhaps the best analogy I've ever read for free books.

I know I have literally hundreds of freebies on my Kindle. I may or may not ever get to them all, but if I do get to them, it's usually months after I downloaded them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yes! Agree! Perfect analogy!

And as I said earlier, sales are way up for the next books after #1, so I guess for now I'm just gonna stay happy about that and not focus too much on the ones that have been lost in the kindle cosmos :)
 

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livinginfantasyland said:
I plan on doing some actual serious promo soon, for the free downloads, and hope that I see a jump in sales for book 2 after.
It's worth trying to get the perma-free book mentioned on POI, ENT and even paying for a Bookbub ad if it's not too expensive (mine was only $30 because it was YA). I also got a mention on Free Kindle Books and Tips which gave the book a nice bump today: http://www.fkbooksandtips.com

I think people who download a free book after seeing it listed on one of these sites are actively looking for free books, as opposed to just downloading everything in the hope they'll get to it one day. Especially Bookbub where the emails are tailored according to genre. Hopefully you'll get more going on to buy books 2 and 3.
 

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For the OP, here's your data in graphical form (cuz I'm a numbers geek):



I'd say your data is pretty well correlated (meaning: you get more downloads, you get more sales, in roughly the same timeframe).

Also: the 3-6% conversion rate you're getting from free-to-paid is not unreasonable. I've seen friends with 10-15% conversion on their free-to-paid, but that was unusual.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Susan Kaye Quinn said:
For the OP, here's your data in graphical form (cuz I'm a numbers geek):



I'd say your data is pretty well correlated (meaning: you get more downloads, you get more sales, in roughly the same timeframe).

Also: the 3-6% conversion rate you're getting from free-to-paid is not unreasonable. I've seen friends with 10-15% conversion on their free-to-paid, but that was unusual.
Awesome :) I'm so not a numbers person!
 

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The issue with readers waiting for a complete series before getting started on a book is right.
.
I waited releasing any of my Vampires Of Livix trilogy until the third book was ready to go.
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Amanda Brice said:
That's perhaps the best analogy I've ever read for free books.

I know I have literally hundreds of freebies on my Kindle. I may or may not ever get to them all, but if I do get to them, it's usually months after I downloaded them.
I just got a Google Alert for a book blogger. The first line in her review, "I've had this free book on my Kindle forever, and I just got around to reading it."

Now what forever means, I don't know, but I'm guessing months.

As for percent to download for free,and then return for the second book? It's really hard to say. In months my book is mentioned on a big blog (Bookbub, ENT, POI), the percent is low. Like 1% or less. In regular organic months, it's more like 25%.
 

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I seem to sell one book for every ten free downloads. My sell through from book 1 to 2 is around a 100% and sometimes greater, which is weird. Book 2 is $3.99 and Book 3 is $2.99, and to date I haven't had Amazon set book 1 free anywhere except the US, which is hard, but there doesn't seem to be much I can do about it.

I'm happy with what's happening so far.
 

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SBJones said:
When I do a free run on book one. I see about a 2-3% buy through to book two and a 80% or so from book two to book three.
This is pretty much exactly what I'm seeing too. Once people make the investment to spend money on a series they seem much more likely to come back for more.

I wouldn't worry about low numbers on the paid titles, it's probably something that's going to depend lots more on the genre/length/style of your book and the readers themselves rather than anything that reflects on you as an author.
I know that most of the people downloading my free eRom title probably aren't looking to invest in a series, they're just looking for some free smut. ;D
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Follow up... as of this morning ... and this is really not the topic I initially posted about ... but ...

I had a wicked crazy download day yesterday and when Amazon finally updated the rankings I went up to #1 in each category I'm in!

And not that this will continue, but suddenly sales of book 2 increased as well ... I'm sure the ebb and flow will continue.

But I'll take the good day today!

And I totally gloated about it to all my facebook fans, couldn't help it. Who knows if or when this will happen again :) http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.480223302015553.95025.319997821371436&type=1
 
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